Dominican Republic

Dominican Republic

One of the Caribbean's most entertaining and all-encompassing countries – with world-class beaches, outstanding resorts, and friendly hosts – the Dominican Republic is also a great vacation value!

The Dominican Republic’s white, golden, and even black sands stretch across its 800 miles of coastline, with the Atlantic Ocean to the north and the Caribbean Sea to the south. But make no mistake, the DR is no one-trick pony. Sure, its biggest draw may be its beaches and postcard-perfect waters, but there’s a lot more to this energetic land, like professional baseball and hand-rolled cigars; Spanish Colonial cities and sleepy fishing villages; lazy, palm-shaded afternoons and diving between shipwrecks.

World class resorts

The DR is especially known for its lively resort scene. Head to Punta Cana, La Romana, Puerto Plata, and Samana, where numerous resorts – many of them all-inclusive – invite you to indulge in virtually every water sport, from snorkeling and windsurfing, to jet-skiing and sailing. Add in lagoon swimming pools freckled with swim-up bars, gourmet dining, tennis courts, golf, and more, and you’ll see this is a destination that knows its way around a resort!

Punta Cana tantalizes you with emerald waters, palm-shaded beaches, and resorts dedicated to luxurious indulgence. La Romana is a fabulous resort area highlighted by Altos de Chavon, a replica 16th-century European village perched high on a cliff. And Puerto Plata's Victorian style in Old Puerto Plata and modern offerings on Playa Dorada give visitors the best of yesterday and today.

Dominican Republic

Dominican Republic

Dominican Republic

Our favorite beaches

For families...

Tourists love La Romana’s string of immaculate beaches including Bayahibe and Minitas Beach, which are kid-friendly thanks to calm, shallow waters. Popular with Santo Domingo residents, Boca Chica is also kid-friendly with shallow offshore waters. The beach has immaculate fine sand, and there are plenty of bars, restaurants, pizza stands, and souvenir stalls close by.

Adventures on the water...

The action is non-stop on golden Cabarete Beach, one of the globe's top windsurfing and kiteboarding venues (and home to World Cup championship events in both sports). Surfing and scuba diving are also top diversions here.

For romance...

Powdery beaches, towering palms, azure waters, and the occasional sand bar at low tide make Isla Saona one of the island's most romantic destinations. This small island is part of the Parque Nacional Del Este.

Popular Punta Cana

Punta Cana has long been a top Caribbean haven for tourists, and with good reason. Its gorgeous beaches face both the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, and its waters are calm thanks to protection by a stunning reef (which also makes for great snorkeling). Punta Cana is often referred to as the “Coconut Coast” due to the swaying coconut palms that line its 30 miles of super-fine white sand. Bake in the sun, go horseback riding along the shore, or swim and dive into every imaginable water sport in the turquoise water!

Punta Cana also features a thriving resort scene that promises countless activities for all types of vacationers. Families can splash at a range of water parks, shoppers will find arts and crafts both on resort properties and within plazas along Punta Cana’s main roads, and the area boasts some of the DR’s best spas for those who need to unwind and relax. At night, Punta Cana comes alive with discos, live entertainment, and casinos at many resorts.

Santo Domingo: the New World’s oldest city

In addition to sun, sea, sand, and beautiful resorts, the DR offers a unique cultural experience, as a colorful mosaic of Spanish, French, Haitian, and African influences suffuse the island. This is evident in the many historic aspects of Santo Domingo, the oldest city in the New World, and the largest city in the Caribbean.  

Modern Santo Domingo is a bustling, cosmopolitan capital city with great nightlife, dining, and shopping, as well as museums, ballet, opera, and world-class sports. Make time for strolling the lively waterfront of the Malecon, home to sleek hotels, cafes, restaurants, clubs, and shops.

Meanwhile, Old Santo Domingo, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is full of cobblestone streets and traditional architecture. The oldest cathedral in the New World is just one of the beautiful sights here.

Nearby Boca Chica fronts the largest reef-protected ocean lagoon in the Caribbean. Juan Dolio, more tranquil and less hectic, is a haven of challenging golf and excellent cuisine.

Local cuisine

Typical Dominican meals tend to be heavy in meats such as chicken, beef, pork, and goat, centered on a stew of brown beans, plantains, and rice flavored with very mild spices. Local dishes you are likely to encounter include:

  • Sancocho, a thick stew blended with meats and vegetables; 
  • Mangu, mashed green plantains; 
  • Arepa, a sweet cake served with your main dish. 

Presidente is a high-quality local ale and a jugo is a refreshing fresh fruit drink made with crushed ice and sugar.

DR FAST FACTS

Approximate flight times

(to Punta Cana)

NYC/Newark 4 hours

Philadelphia 4 hours

Boston 4 hours

Chicago 4 hours, 30 minutes

Miami 2 hours

Los Angeles 7 hours, 30 minutes

(some flights may require connections)

Entry/departure requirements

A valid U.S. passport is required. On arrival, visitors must purchase a $10 tourist card, and there is a departure tax of $20 (usually included in airfare).

Climate

The Dominican Republic has a year-round tropical maritime climate, with almost continuous northeast trade winds. The average annual temperature is between 78-88°F, and average annual rainfall is 58.5".

Marriage requirements

The Dominican Republic does not require you to obtain a marriage license; you need only to register to be married. The Oficialia del Estado Civil charges $50 for this. Valid passports, birth certificates, and divorce/death certificates (if applicable) are required. Two witnesses must be present.

Official language

Spanish (English widely spoken, especially in resort and tourist areas).

Official currency

Dominican peso (U.S. dollar widely accepted and often preferred).